Ford government to create new Ontario Health super agency

Ford government introducing legislation to form super agency called 'Ontario Health'

Ford government to create new super agency, Ontario Health

Ontarians are set to learn the government's plans today for an overhaul of the health-care system.

The government intends to introduce legislation that would, if passed, support the establishment of local Ontario Health Teams that connect health care providers and services around patients and families and integrate multiple existing provincial agencies into a single health agency - Ontario Health.

As expected, the minister also confirmed that a new superagency, Ontario Health, would absorb the functions of six health-care agencies, including Cancer Care Ontario, and 14 local health integration networks (LHINs), the organizations that now oversee home care and manage the waiting lists for nursing homes.

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Describing the system as "fragmented", she promised the government would make it easier for patients to move between health care providers and have access to their records.

Elliott pointed to the thousands of people waiting for long-term care every day or the 1,200 people who receive care in hospital hallways.

Advancement of digital first approaches to health care, such as virtual care, and improving the integration and efficiency of digital health assets across the entire health system, which would support more evidence-based advice on delivering health services and clinical care.

The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario said they're optimistic that the government plan will divert money from middle management in the health bureaucracy to front line care. You will be able to book appointments online and have access to your own health-care record. She did not indicate clearly how the changes would affect jobs.

"If we expect real improvements that patients will experience first-hand, we must better coordinate the public health care system, so it is organized around people's needs and outcomes".

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Ontario Health will streamline the other agencies' functions and "provide more value for tax dollars", the backgrounder says.

The centrepiece of the plan that Health Minister Christine Elliott unveiled on Tuesday is the creation of between 30 and 50 "Ontario health teams" that would each be responsible for the well-being of as many as 300,000 patients.

The other agencies being rolled into Ontario Health are Health Quality Ontario, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Health Shared Services Ontario, and HealthForce Ontario Marketing and Recruitment Agency.

"We don't want anyone to lose their jobs, because what they [nurses] do is desperately needed in our system", Ms. McKenna said. The health teams will be given a lot of flexibility in how they operate to allow for local variation, officials said.

At the time, Elliott said the bill was "just a draft" and that the NDP were "fear mongering" when it came to concerns they raised about potential privatization of services.

"One in six hospital beds are occupied by someone who needs to be in long-term care or at home or assisted living, " he said.

Family doctors are well-positioned to help patients navigate the system and have a first-hand understanding of the ways health care delivery could be improved, Young said. She says local health teams will help co-ordinate care.

Bob Bell, Ontario's former deputy health minister, said the Progressive Conservative government is taking a big risk, especially considering that the health-team model is relatively untested. This Council provides advice on key health care priorities that have an impact on patient care and experience, and drive meaningful changes to provincial health care planning, programs and policies. "I think what they need is a very clear mandate".

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